Coronavirus: Worldwide cases surpass Sars outbreak in 2003

Coronavirus: Worldwide cases surpass Sars outbreak in 2003

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed that of the Sars epidemic, which spread to more than two dozen countries in 2003.

There were around 8,100 cases of Sars – severe acute respiratory syndrome – reported during that outbreak.

But nearly 10,000 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, which emerged in China in December.

The number of deaths stands at 213 – all in China. That is far lower than the 774 people killed by Sars.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the outbreak. It said there had been 98 cases outside China, but no deaths.

But on Friday, two cases of the virus were confirmed for the first time in the UK.

Most international cases are in people who had been to the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus originated.

However, in eight cases – in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States – patients were infected by people who had travelled to China.

How does this outbreak compare to Sars?

The Sars virus, which was also a type of coronavirus that originated in China, spread to 26 countries in the early 2000s.

The new virus has spread to fewer countries and – while more people have been infected globally – it has resulted in fewer deaths.

On Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases within China surpassed the Sars epidemic.

Sars was also estimated to have cost the global economy more than $30bn (£22bn).

But economists have said the new coronavirus could have an even bigger impact on the world economy. It has forced global companies including tech giants, car makers and retailers to shut down temporarily in China.

China was also criticised by the UN’s global health body for concealing the scale of the original Sars outbreak.

It has been praised for responding to the latest virus with tough measures, including effectively quarantining millions of residents in cities.